CarMax is trying a new tactic to generate buzz around its commercial for Super Bowl XLVIII – they have not only released their big game ad a full week before the kickoff, but they have also released a remake of the ad featuring puppies! And in a  rare but pleasant surprise, both versions of the ad are charming in their own way.

Let’s talk about the “Human Edition” of CarMax’s Super Bowl commercial first: a man has just bought a car (from a CarMax dealer, of course) and is about to drive off for the first time. Before he does, he expresses his gratitude to his salesman, who begins to perform the iconic “slow clap.” As the gentleman drives off in his new vehicle, he is met with the same slow but building clapping from myriad folks on the street, everyone from a cheerleader to contestants in a pie eating contest to kids working at a lemonade stand.

OK now let’s jump right to the puppy version, because all of the exact same stuff happens, albeit with subtitles and barks replacing words and clapping, and the car in question shrunk down to an utterly charming miniature version! The puppy version of the ad (which, by the way, was inspired by the canine “football match” called the Puppy Bowl, which takes place on a different network than the big game simultaneous to the halftime show) lines up perfectly with the regular commercial.

The editors behind these twin ads deserve some serious respect: look no farther than the 00:27 second mark in both ads – at that exact moment, both human and canine father let go of their kids to cheer on the new driver, allowing the young bicyclists to comically collapse! On its own, the CarMax ad is competent and even cute, but not all that memorable. Supported by its canine companion, though, this is a marketing moment worth remembering!

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